Nina DiSesa has worked in the quintessential boys clubs of advertising for almost thirty years. In 1994, she became the first woman EVP, Executive Creative Director for McCann Erickson New York, the flagship office of the largest advertising agency in the world. Under her creative leadership, the New York office enjoyed an unprecedented 5-year growth period adding almost $2.5 billion in billings. In 1998, she was made Chairman as well as Chief Creative Officer of McCann New York. She was the first woman and first creative director to be named chairman in the McCann global network.
In 1999, Nina was chosen by Fortune magazine as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in American Business.” In 2005, she received the Matrix Award, given each year to a select group of women in communication. In 2007, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame for CEBA (Creative Excellence in Business Advertising).
Question: Can women be manly?
Nina DiSesa: Well, I try to think like a man, I think that’s one of the things that allowed me to get as far as I did get in my profession, but I never forgot that I was a women. So, I would always ask a man like this that disaster situation will end, I am terrified, I just scare and they would say, “God, yes we are scared, but we are men, we are not going to show it” and I thought “wow, I can pretend that I am scared” and maybe if I act courageous eventually I will be courageous and it little be a self appealing prophesy, and that’s pretty much what happened. You can learn some of the skills that men have and be more like them in a good way, and without loosing the things that make you inherently a strong women and then I think you have got the best of both roles. I think the women are wired to be good leaders, we just don’t use a lot of our skills and we don’t pick up the things that the men are doing really well, and learn some of those skills from them, when the women who do that, are very strong women.